Tier 14 Retrospective

You know that feeling sometimes, that those of us in our 20s or 30s get about our college days? We’ll look back and think, “Man, those were the best days of my life.” And that’s kind of a sad thought, that you’re already done with the best and most fun years you’ll ever have. WOW players get like that about certain tiers – I hear it about Kara, about Sunwell, about Ulduar. Myself, I’ve always felt that way about Tier 11. Tier 11 was wonderful, but it was wonderful to me in an increasingly bittersweet way. I felt that the game had slowly changed since then. I wasn’t sure whether to be sad, or angry… but I spent most of 2011 and 2012 fairly convinced that I would never again see a tier I liked quite as much.

I was wrong. Tier 14 was absolutely fantastic.

Now that I am 16/16H and Anafielle the Fearless, I’d like to look back on this tier’s content. What follows are some memories of each of our 16 encounters in the chronological order that Something Wicked progressed through them on 25 Heroic.

Stone Guard

I might have loved T11, but not everyone felt the same way. Someone once told me that the lack of a ‘starter boss’ was a serious flaw in T11 – the first bosses (Halfus, Omnotron, and Magmaw) were all too complicated. They frustrated poor raiders who’d just entered the instance. The first boss needed to be a total pushover so that raids would get some free loot before they moved along. In particular, a council fight as the first boss was completely inappropriate; there are simply too many different abilities involved.

Seriously? But it was true: T12 and T13 brought us Shannox and Morchok! Ugh. Pull the boss, and a couple minutes later they would politely gift your raid with epics. I figured this was simply how the first boss would always work moving forward. Sad to just write off the first boss each tier…

How wrong I was to doubt. When we pulled Stone Guard, and I realized it was half Omnotron and half Halfus, plus some totally new stuff like tiles and some kind of taunt trade for positioning… you can imagine that I was very surprised and pleased.

I wouldn’t call Stone Guard difficult, but they were certainly tricky. This fight had a lot of moving parts. So it’s a good thing that our tanks Omegal (@MysticalOS on twitter) and Shiramune, as well as half our healing team, tested absolutely everything on the MOP Beta extensively and thoroughly both to help Omegal build working DBM timers as well as to learn the fights. That experience was invaluable.

See, I don’t actually know how Stone Guard works. I am fairly certain that no one in Something Wicked knew how that taunt trade worked except Shiramune, but he had it figured out, and called out everything so clearly that screwing anything up would have been much more impressive than actually doing it right. Thus Something Wicked was carried to our first heroic kill by our DK tank (as usual).

Stone Guard also cemented my love affair with Hand of Purity and with our entire, re-designed talent tree. Paladins really came out ahead in MOP; it’s blindingly obvious the designers like us best. They really should try to be more fair.


We actually took out SG so quickly that we also managed Feng in that first week of heroics, slipping into the US top 30. Getting two heroic kills in the first week of heroics in 463 gear remains a favorite raiding memory of mine. I know a lot of people complained about the click bug. I don’t know what kind of magic Omegal and Shira managed, but with a combination of addons, UI reloads and beta practice, we made it happen.

I liked Feng. I admired his design. I thought it was rather cool to pull each of the 4 phases and learn them one by one before putting them all together in order to push the kill – Moshne called him the “Choose your own adventure” boss. It made the encounter a lot easier, but that was perfectly acceptable for the 2nd heroic of 16. If this was how the designers were going to build a starter heroic boss, I felt that said promising things about the 14 fights we had left to go.


I don’t know if I should have, but I rather liked this fight. When we did this (kill dated October 26th), you still had to maintain 6 minutes of straight cooldown coverage on the tanks; sadly gear has made this now unnecessary. Our paladins took care of the whole thing with Clemency and careful organization. I find that kind of thing really fun – I love using my paladin utility. Being a DPS check that ret looked decent on also helped.


I wanted to like Elegon. This fight was almost cool. I’ll give it a C, but an A for effort and for looks. Elegon just wasn’t that impressive as a DPS check; honestly, Garajal was tighter. The problem was the sparks: any tighter and he would have required Spine type stacking. As it was, the DPS check was just too loose to really present a serious challenge. It was a very pretty fight, though; I’ll give it that.

Spirit Kings

Before I talk about this fight, let’s pause and discuss the reset problem first. I don’t care what order you wanted – everyone reset for their chosen order. It made pulling this massively unpleasant, which is a shame since actually doing it was fantastic. SK was arguably the best fight of the tier, and it’s really too bad that first couple dozen guilds that saw this had to put up with the resetting. The fact that Blizzard cemented the order for the BL / Vodka race and yet refused to do it for the rest of us, leaving the peons to reset over and over for a couple more weeks, was just insulting. At least the order was eventually fixed, long after we had it killed. In the meantime, we got an amusing video out of it.

Setting that aside, this fight was just fantastic. My first thought when I pulled this: “Oh my god… they get it. The designers really get it.” Raiders in general loved Spirit Kings. I don’t think I really need to explain why. If you liked Omnotron, you liked this fight.

Blade Lord Tayak

I thought this fight was a little boring, despite how amusing it was to fail on tornadoes (even with a bubble cheat) and to watch other people fail. It was the first fight of the tier that I hadn’t really been all that excited to pull. As a ret, his out-of-melee-range specials were pretty annoying to deal with. But he wasn’t a bad fight, I just didn’t love it. Bonus points for being a fight with a mechanic paladins could break.

Wind Lord Meljarak

Let’s get this out of the way: this fight was easy. It was laughably, hilariously easy. I think we killed it in 10 pulls, and 9 of them were Stampede breaking the CC. But that’s ok; there seems to always be one fight in a long tier that – oops! – is actually simpler on heroic than on normal. It happens. And I rather liked pulling Wind Lord in general, because I get to cleave on this fight and cleave is fun! Also the burn phase! Since doing this fight is actually a little enjoyable while farming through HOF, I forgive this one its ease.

Will of the Emperor

I really don’t mean to get into the 10m argument here, but it’s impossible to avoid while discussing this fight. 10 mans, you did some hard shit this tier, I have respect for the tuning on both difficulties. There were a lot of really difficult fights for you.

Will was not one of them. Pull counts were (briefly) public before Blizzard paniced and subsequently hid them once more, and so we knew: Will 10 was taking less than half the time Will 25 was, across the board. As a result, that MSV realm first Feat of Strength was well within reach of anyone who could put a relatively organized 10 man together. Meanwhile, we were facing one of the hardest organizational and logistical challenges we’d ever seen before. In retrospect, adjusting for gear at each time we pulled, I think this was the second hardest fight in T14.

As a 12 hour, 3 night place, Something Wicked has not been a realm first guild before; either a 5 night guild or a 10 man guild had always beaten us before. But this one, this was the first one reasonably within reach for us, and we knew there were several 10 mans that were going to give us a fight for it.

I can’t tell you how much we wanted it. How frustrating it was to watch 10s pull it on the evenings we don’t raid. How awful it was to wipe within 5% and then stop, one Sunday, because it was already 12 CST and we just can’t pull past our end time. And then that nerve wracking, desperate Monday and Tuesday watching streams and stalking logs. Fortunately, when we all decide to play right, we kick ass at minor challenges like organization and precise play. On December 5th, for the first time in my history as a hardcore raider, I knew what it was like to see server first spam with my name in it. We had managed Realm First MSV, we’d done it on 25 (of course), and we’d done it on our normal 12 hour raiding schedule.

The excitement… it was incredible. Probably my favorite raiding memory ever.

As for the fight itself, I respected that fight. It required very clean, very organized play from start to finish. It was a puzzle piece type of encounter where every part had to fit neatly together. The only part I didn’t like about that fight was my stupid job – I hate Strength tanking. I want to dance!


This fight was more than a bit frustrating as melee. Am I the only one who was completely driven nuts by the hitbox on the legs? I got into the habit of turning my back to the leg and DPSing into thin air, because I knew the game actually thought my target was in front of me even though the pixels on my screen would disagree.

Amber Shaper Unsok (I tanked)

Our warrior tank Omega really enjoys figuring out how boss fights work mechanically – a couple million of you benefit from this, if you use DBM. While the rest of the raid actually worked on this encounter, he and I spent our time on Unsok amusing ourselves trying to figure out how to control which tank was targeted by Unsok’s Reshape Life. The goal of this was to maneuver it such that our DK tank Shiramune was stuck in the 4th and permanent construct, since he is by far our raid’s best player. He makes a mistake roughly on the average of once every century; when he does make any kind of error, we all start nervously looking for other signs of the apocalypse. And so Omega and I sat down to try and get Shira into the construct as much as possible, with or without his permission. We tried threat games, positioning games, and even stood in fire because for a couple of pulls Omega was quite convinced it was health based. This plan backfired, of course, and somehow I personally ended up in the fucking thing on just about every pull.

I really liked this fight. I thought the vehicle worked pretty well, as crazy as it is to say that I enjoyed a vehicle fight. I liked the strategy we eventually came up with, in particular that it was a little bit different from the usual manner of doing this encounter. The construct is a little frustrating and tricky, and there is a hint of T11 AC – like “hope that X people don’t get the construct” when you pull it, but overall it never really harmed my enjoyment of the fight which was rather challenging and satisfying from start to finish. I actually didn’t mind being in the construct as much as I claimed, either.

Side note: This fight and SK are the two most frustrating fights to wipe on farm. Not that we ever wipe on farm.

Lei Shi

A fairly nondescript execution check. We 24 manned 23 manned (Moshne corrected me upon reading this; we only had 23) our second kill of this fight, which really drove home how little DPS check there really is here. Pretty boring. This fight gets bonus points in my book though for requiring Paladin raid utility. I like that stuff.

Imperial Vizier Zorlok

I LOVED this fight. Am I the only one? I really, really enjoyed it. I think that Attenuation on this fight and the Will H Dance are my two absolute favorite mechanics of the whole tier. We had to strat around a convert in the third phase as well, which was perhaps frustrating, but also interesting. Although I have to say, the double Attenuations at the end suck.


The strategy for this fight was quite intricate, and there were several different ways in which guilds chose to meet the positioning requirements. This remains one of my favorite fights of the tier. Rather like Will, I respected this fight. This was also the sketchiest and yet most hilarious first-kill of the tier for us.

I’m really pretty bad, and I was challenged by the interrupt rotation that we had to maintain on Asani. I can’t be the only one. My raid leader wanted to reach through the computer and personally throttle each and every melee, particularly on those 2nd and 3rd kills when we sometimes failed miserably at hitting our interrupt keybinds despite two separate WeakAuras we all had telling us how to play. Sorry, Moshne. :( But this was still a good fight. Melee need a kick in the ass sometimes.

Empress Shekzeer (I tanked this too)

Phase 3 really should have been harder. It was actually a bit disappointing to kill this as soon as we had the adds down; I think our very first Phase 3 pull was a kill. However, the rest was pretty fun – from getting the Fields down in the first phase to pulling the adds together in the second phase. Even as the bitch tank (the reaver tank) I still chain cooldowns to keep myself alive on this. This fight was pretty good, but it could have been so much better.


You know, as a hybrid, I actually liked this fight on normal. The RNG on heroic, though, really drove me up a wall. I got so fucking tired of watching adds spawn on top of beams. We wiped so much in phase 1 with such short wipe recovery that the entire raid ended up with 2 minute rez timers, prompting Moshne to comment on our collective badness as a raid: “We’re dying so much, the game has us confused with a Sha pug.” We finally managed to blow up the right beams, but my enjoyment of this fight was permanently soured. Doing millions of healing as a ret paladin with ES and FOL is really cool, though.

Sha of Fear (I tanked this)

I am completely unapologetic about stalking the armories of players in competing guilds, particularly tanks to make sure I’m not playing my offspec like a bad. And so I remember seeing Kihra, main tank of Temerity, gemmed mastery long ago and scratched my head at the time trying to figure out why, since I was sure he was usually geared control. Once we hit Sha, I figured it out myself, and also realized I was going to thoroughly enjoy all 17 minutes of this crazy long fight we had to cap off the tier. I’ve Absalom and Kihra both to thank for releasing epic boss-crotch paladin POV videos for me, and for giving me excellent advice- occasionally different advice – which helped me a lot on a fight that make me possibly the most nervous in my offspec.

I’m not sure if there’s any moment in this whole tier quite as epic as watching Sha put up Dread Thrash, then submerge, then come back up across the room, then pause to cast yet another special, and then meander slowly across the expanse back at me… with the Dread Thrash buff still up … while I spam SOTR to try and get it up before the melee & also figure out if I’m putting his fat ass in the right place in the room…. Other memorable moments would include hitting AD and taunting off another tank with Dread Thrash still up, or tanking while Naked and Afraid, both of which happened more often than I’d expected. This was not a boring tank fight.

DPS is fun, but there’s really nothing quite as epic as being the tank sometimes.

Although it wasn’t perfect, I liked this fight a lot. Sure, I thought the Lei Shi haste buff was stupid design. And maybe it should have a couple minutes shorter. Also, Blizzard, really? Did you just forget to design the Dread Expanse, or what? But overall, I thought it was pretty compelling with a couple challenging pieces that were also enjoyable to actually do. It definitely felt like a good challenge to cap off a long and varied 16 boss raid tier.


The last time I wrote a tier retrospective, my opinion was not entirely positive. T13 hurt. It wasn’t a short hurt, like a knife wound. It was a long, slow acid burn which from December 2011 through August 2012 ate away at the joy and excitement of raiding. It’s really very difficult to describe how the entire second half of Cataclysm affected my feelings on the game, but the effect was not positive.

I felt guilty. I believed that other people in the game were having fun, and I felt bad begrudging them that. But I was convinced that WOW was moving in a direction which was better, maybe, for the majority of its subscribers … but which was simply less enjoyable for me. This is a really sad thought. I want everyone to have fun, but does it have to come at the expense of my own fun?

Thank you, T14, for convincing me that this doesn’t have to be true. I really feel like this was a strong tier for raiders. I have loved every bit of this tier from our first week in normals, through Sha Heroic progression. So many fights were like little nods to fights we had seen and loved before. It was far from perfect – I’m not in love with every single fight we saw, as you can tell! – but it was really, really fun, and a wild five month ride to 16/16H.

Watcher and the rest: loved it overall. Now, make sure T15 has more of the same, but even better!

Recruitment: Something Wicked is a 12 hour, 3 night guild raiding Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 8 to 12 CST. We ended Tier 14 at 16/16H ranked US 47 for 25 mans. We are recruiting mages, warlocks, and paladin healers!

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33 Responses to Tier 14 Retrospective

  1. Peter says:

    I swear by this blog because of my (sadly former-man) prot paladin, but I OH so wish I could agree with you from a shadow priest perspective. But alas, this tier was a huge example of half-homogeneity gone wrong for me, and really has me closer to re-rolling for non raid-role related reasons than ever. Let me explain briefly.

    This tier involved an enormous amount of “most of you can do this now” mechanics, notably (1) stacking, particularly stacking in close range or melee, and (2) ranged DPS while moving. Honorable mention goes to passive cleave damage, which about half of the top dps specs get a stupid benefit from while the rest of us get kicked in the nuts. There is no way to describe how frustrating it is to consistently, no matter how well you play, be locked out of the top 8 in a 25 man dps chart because Halo is a huge chunk of our optimal single target damage (but can’t be used effectively for 3/4 of the Zorklok fight), or because most ranged classes now have a spammable nuke of some sort that can be used while kiting Garalon, or because your spec is designed around multi-dotting (but dots have been nerfed so that multi-dotting isn’t as overpowered as it was in Cata, leaving you doing significantly more work for absolutely no benefit) and there are too many adds to dot… but your AOE is grossly undertuned.

    The game is clearly going in a role-design direction, where melee almost all have some passive cleave, ranged are supposed to be able to move freely and spread and compensate, and tanks all have their slew of survival cooldowns to design around. But some of the classes simply haven’t gotten balanced to that point yet, and when fights are designed around those paradigms, being one of those classes feels pretty awful.

    I will remember tier 14 with immense remorse, because of how much I COULD have loved it. If I were still tanking, I have no doubt it would have been my favorite tier since Ulduar. But because I have dealt with more mechanics than I can possibly count that just feel unfair to my class (it is ABSURD that I have to spec holy-dps to maximize my single target damage… and it’s not close right now, it’s like 10-15% on some fights), I will always feel ignored in this tier, more so than I ever have with this character.

    I wish I could share your joy.

    • anafielle says:

      I absolutely agree with you about passive cleave. Keep in mind I play ret. I have similar feelings to you except translated to Melee. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as playing a spec which the designers very carefully pulled all passive cleave out of, for two years, they told Rets and Warriors “No no no, you can’t cleave in your single target rotation!” ….. and then the DPS DKs are like LOL HOWLING BLAST and top charts on any fight with adds (and there are a lot of fights with adds). I sympathize.

      I still liked the tier though. Glad to hear the disagreement.

  2. Zey says:

    Elegon may have been boring, but our first kill certainly wasn’t. Here is the exchange, complete with the exact numbers (immortalized in Eyliria’s forum sig).

    Elegon kills everyone but Shiramune.
    Elegon hits Shiramune with catastrophic anomaly for 1,171,026 (completely absorbed).
    Shiramune laughs in Elegon’s face.
    Shiramune death strikes Elegon for 494,258.
    Shiramune rune strikes Elegon for 299,267.
    Elegon dies.

    • Peter says:

      To which the only appropriate response can be, #nerfblood 😛

    • anafielle says:

      Fair enough! That was normal though! Yet another fight where Shiramune carried us to victory. I.e. every fight ever.

      I even linked the video of the end of our protectors kill showing one of Shira’s many epic SW saves. Of course, that was both Shira & Zey :)

  3. Peter says:

    Speaking of Shira, we’re coming up on heroic Amber Shaper (hopefully this week?) and we also have one tank who is just an absolutely elite player; do you know if they ever figured out how to force Shira into the 4th construct?

    • kerriodos says:

      I can’t speak for SW, but my guild never managed to figure it out, either. There was some time where Hand of Salv shenanigans seemed to help, but then a slaved person would suddenly be Reshaped right through it. It’s not threat based, and as Ana covered, not health based. Best I can figure it is just a random spec-based check, but in practice it seems like we tended to get the same pattern for 4 or 5 pulls in a row before it would change. Not always, but it was common enough to take notice.

    • anafielle says:

      We had a couple of theories, but they are top secret information and classified. They belong to Omegal who comes up with all our crazy tank ideas.

      edit: Kidding. We actually had some success playing with distance. Unsok mostly seems to prefer the tank furthest away, unless that tank just got out of a construct. If the tank furthest away just got out of a construct, it is pretty much up in the air, and he picks whoever. But this has not been reliable enough for me to really tell you to depend on it, it was just Omega’s least-disproved theory.

      It’s definitely not threat based. I don’t know if we ever completely trashed the HP thought or not.

      • kerriodos says:

        The one thing we noticed is that we never had the same tank Reshaped twice in a row. Ever. It might be possible with deaths, but p1 tank damage is a joke. It might also be possible if they leave the construct early enough, but then you’re pretty much guaranteed to let the boss’ debuff fall off.

        With that in mind, there was much private rejoicing when I would get the 3rd reshape, since it meant I didn’t have to be the construct for that attempt. I was–arguably–the best at it of our three tanks (though we did since kill it with all of our different tanks doing the job), but I mostly hated doing it for the first few weeks.

        • Omega says:

          I still think there IS a trick to it, i’m just confident it’s a set of conditional factors and not just one thing. It’s not just furthest away, it’s furthest away with a threat check and possibly a 3rd check.
          The one for sure check is it checks if you were one recently and if so ignores you flat out
          Second check I think is threat. I feel like it does try to play a little preference to highest threat tank. It almost always starts out on person who pulled boss for example, unless i taunted VERY early fight i found i could take it often instead.
          Third to threat i still feel like the distance thing has something to it. In event that threat is fairly matched i think he then looks at distance and tries to grab furthest away for some reason.

          Even then it’s no where near 100%, and may be completely wrong all together. But playing with above did seem to give some improved control at least.

          • Omega says:

            It just reminds me of meteors on ragnaros. There was without a single doubt in mind, some mechanic there, because they always chased the same mage for like 50 pulls. For life of us we could never figure out what the hell it was. A mystery that’d be awesome to solve but ultimately probably never will.

          • anafielle says:

            If anyone was going to solve it, you could :)

  4. kerriodos says:

    My thoughts… I wonder if some of your love for the tier might have more to do with how completely underwhelming T13–and, to a lesser degree, T12 sans Heroic Ragnaros–was. By contrast, T14 looks bloody godly, but on it’s own I question it it’s really THAT good.

    That said, I felt similarly about T11 when it was fresh in my memory. With a bit of time separating myself from the frustration of progression wipes, etc, the tier seemed much stronger. Call it rose-coloured glasses if you will, but at the same time it might be a mistake for me to try to evaluate a tier too soon (hell, Heroic Sha’s last 15% still looms in my future); it just invites outside influences to change my perception. Like the fact that I burnt out this tier, due in no small part to the overwhelming dailies and what not at the start. While that definitely affected my enjoyment of the tier as a whole, it’s probably not fair to let that invade an evaluation of the individual fights and their merits.

    • anafielle says:

      Very true. I note it at the beginning and the end of this post– I’m largely comparing T14 to Cata.

      Keep in mind I’m a Wrath baby, Kerri. I have limited raid experience. Here is my Wrath experience:

      T8 – I only did the Ulduar hm’s on 10, and late. They were awesome, but… 10.
      T9 – I only did serious HM’s on 10. Also T9 sucked.
      T10 – I did 11/12 HM fully nerfed — which is similar to 8/8 HM 30% nerfed in T13.

      This isn’t nothing; I did see raid content that was fun, but I craved more, I wanted to do it current and on 25 of course. So I joined SW for T11, and that is where my really serious raiding history begins. But I feel like I can’t compare nearly as well to Wrath because I just didn’t raid in a hardcore 25’s guild at the time (as I do now). I can compare to Cataclysm easily, since I was with SW through that expansion, but prior to that I have more trouble drawing a good comparison.’

      It’s possible that T14 really isn’t that great when compared to the whole history of WOW raiding. Comparing it to Cataclysm though, it feels very similar to Tier 11, which I liked a lot. :)

  5. Hamsda says:

    I was hoping for a summary from you after I read that you killed Sha last sunday. Gratz to SW :)
    We are still working on the last 10% of Sha and are a 10 man guild, but also just 3 nights a week with 11 hours total, so I can somewhat relate to your opinions about this tier.
    I agree with almost all of your statements regarding the encounters but what annoyed me the most this tier was the fact that Blizzard still can’t seem to predict the “abuse” of certain classes/speccs/abilities or their huge flaws in combination with some encounter mechanics.
    After being underwhelming for the first few weeks as a priest healer, hotfixes came and I was nearly always one of the 2/3 healers in the raid because I could completely negate certain encounter mechanics. Blade Lord comes to mind… I swapped with another healer and 3 pulls later the boss was dead because Unseen Strike does literally 0 dmg through SS.
    Certain tanking speccs being unable to tank Gara’jal (even in 10 man our dk was a burden on the healers in comparison to our warrior) because of 1 simple mechanic was also quite horrible.
    I’m just wondering how something like this can happen after years of encounter designing and learning from mistakes in the past.

    But all in all it probably still was/is one of the best tiers Blizzard has designed just for the diversity of certain encounters.

    • anafielle says:

      I have to comment on the tank thing, because that was really not our experience. Sorry :) All tank specs were perfectly capable of tanking everything. Our DK tanked Garajal fine. That includes 463 geared Week 2 Garajal. Our DK is the Shiramune referenced in this post a couple of times. He was very careful to call for a lot of cooldowns, and received a BOP and Hand of Sac’s anytime he did not have a personal cooldown up, and so did our Warrior. That was the strat. They got the same cooldowns. If there was a difference in their damage intake, it was minor enough to be chalked up to Class 1 being different from Class 2. I am scratching my head trying to remember if we had to do anything special when Shira was tanking & there were voodoo dolls, we didn’t, nothing we didn’t also do for our warrior. Shira also gets Safeguards from Omega, which does help. That’s really all I can think of, it didn’t occur to me that DK’s couldn’t tank Garajal. It is possible that 10 simply works differently; I am only used to the 25m strat which allows for a lot more cooldown coverage. Also, our DK is pretty good. People have been telling us since T11 that DK’s can’t tank this or that (we heard it a lot about 25M pre-nerf Ragnaros) and we have yet to see Shira ever have a problem.

      As for the rest… yah, Paladins breaking mechanics with BOP and priests breaking mechanics with spirit shell… that did happen. I don’t know how I feel about it. I know our priests have alternately bragged and complained about SS being overpowered. I can’t disagree that maybe they should have predicted that stuff, and I wish they listened to feedback more sometimes.

      Thanks for the commentary!! I really appreciate it when people comment 😀

      • Omega says:

        on garajal, shira also set up tank order so he did NOT tank for frenzy. DK tanks were pretty bad sub 20% on early kills actually. there is valid argument to that. Shira planned for it all along and made sure me (the block tank) was one tanking when he hit 20% as much as possible. Now granted, that rarely worked out, I’d get a banish at like 21% and no one would go down and I was dogmeat to the 3 severs that i couldn’t solo down, or some other nonsense that ended up making shira tank anyways (and he’d still pull off a frenzy tank just fine, but yes the voodoo dolls would take noticeably more damage vs a warrior tanking sub 20%). This was just a testament to our good healers and shira doing is best to mitigate what he could

        • anafielle says:

          Fair enough, you knew how that worked and I didn’t. It doesn’t surprise me that you guys had tank organization I didn’t know about.

          Regardless, “harder” isn’t the same as “broken.” We killed it just fine with Shira tanking, even in the Frenzy.

          • kerriodos says:

            It was definitely tankable by any class, but it’s pretty telling when you get a DK like Riggnaros, competing for a world first kill, switching to his monk tank for progression on the fight. Doable, but noticeably easier with the same person playing a different class (that they’re still comfortable with).

          • Hamsda says:

            It might simply be the fact that even though damage is higher on 25man the (I assume near permanent) cooldown coverage made the damage intake a lot smoother.
            We simply had pulls where our DK, or rather the people he was linked to, got 2 shot. Thats as “broken” as it gets in terms of class imbalance. On the other hand, there are always pros and cons to each tanking class on certain encounters, this one probably just stood out more to me.

  6. Elvis says:

    So since T11 was your former favorite raid, where would you rank those fights in terms of current gear difficulty. I contend that heroic Elementium Monstrosity was one of the hardest boss fights in the modern WoW era.

    • Zey says:

      Getting to the elementium monstrosity consistently was hard, but I don’t recall that phase being especially difficult if we went into it with everyone alive. We simply assigned exact positions to stand for every person in the raid and the boss fell over.

      Somewhere in the sacred duty archives are Ana’s impressions of that fight the week after we killed it.

    • anafielle says:

      Hard is a tricky word to apply. AC was hard the same way Unsok was hard — you had to wait until every one of the 25 people in the raid knew how to deal with an on the spot, raid wiping mechanic, and that was massively frustrating. In fact, those fights have a lot in common.

      But does that make AC the “hardest” boss fight of the modern WOW era? I really don’y think so. Phase 3 was “stand in the right spot, push buttans”. Phase 2 was hope the right people get targetted with the ball.

      There are a lot of fights that I think were more difficult or challenging overall than AC — there just aren’t a whole lot more that were more frustrating. Kinda different!

  7. Jav says:

    “watching Sha put up Dread Thrash, then submerge, then come back up across the room, then pause to cast yet another special, and then meander slowly across the expanse back at me… with the Dread Thrash buff still up … while I spam SOTR to try and get it up before the melee”

    Loved this part!

    This happened to me countless times during our Sha progression. It often ended up with me screaming “I NEED PAIN, I NEED PAIN SUPPRESSION NOW!!” on mumble.

    Really loved the summary and can’t wait for 5.2! :)

  8. Sil says:

    I like to read about your enthusiasm and I am in awe of guilds that get outstanding results with a limited amount of time, although I still think that lfr killed most 2-days-a-week-casual-guilds.

    Having written so highly of your tanks I think it would only be fair for them to write a guest post.

    – Shiramune on how to be the best tank possible, with everything from key/mouse bindings to what s/he thinks makes the difference between a very good tank and an average one (dk in particular, tanks in general) and what are the most common mistakes tanks should strive to avoid.
    – Omegal on what it’s like to work on an addon such as dbm, how the codex changed the work (or not) and other savoury anecdotes.

  9. Pingback: Tier 14 Restospective | healiocentric

  10. Kihra says:

    “And so I remember seeing Kihra, main tank of Temerity, gemmed mastery long ago and scratched my head at the time trying to figure out why, since I was sure he was usually geared control.”

    Minor correction. I was actually control/mastery for Sha. I didn’t give up the control part. :)

    • anafielle says:

      Were you? It was soooo long ago. You did that fight about a month before we did, so I only had a vague memory of how you were gemmed and I remember wondering about it. I don’t stalk you that much – only when I am checking enchants or something. :) If I forget how to gear my tank set I generally armory you or Theck (and he has a tendency to log out in his ret gear sometimes).

  11. Qaz says:

    Congrats on finishing the tier. What were your thoughts on herioc elite protectors?

    I found it odd you complaining about will of the emperor on 10 man – I thought it was generally considered harder on 10 man cause they had no way of ccing all the adds. I think lore was saying in his guild they had lot of problems doing it on 10 man when they stopped doing Msv in there 25man raid.

    I also thought it was wierd that you seem to have no idea how tanking mechanics work on stone guards / feng. You should try tanking them cause they are pretty neat from a tanking perspective.

    • anafielle says:

      Are you calling me out for not pulling Heroic Elite? :) ?I don’t know if we are going to pull it or not. I know we spent the last 2 weeks making sure everyone in the roster got Cutting Edge Sha. Honestly as a melee, and playing in a 3 night guild that doesn’t have a 50 person roster to stack no-melee…. fuck that fight. I am curious to pull it, but I can’t say I care all that much about it.

      Regarding Will — Don’t take my word for it– Go check the pull counts on WOW Progress, if they are still there. It was taking roughly half the pulls, or less, for 10 man guilds to kill it than 25 man guilds.

      We were not the first to kill that fight by any means. Counting both difficulty levels, it was rank 772 World and 203 US… but rank 177 world, 56 US.

      Now if you look at the rest of our kills, we are more like world 300-400 on both difficulty levels! Yet, almost rank 800 for this fight?

      The numbers make it obvious. SOOOOOOO many more 10 man guilds did Will H quickly, than did any of the other heroic fights. The pull counts, when they were public, were even more damning – less than half the pulls were required for a hardcore 10 to take it down, than for a 25. This was a fight that was done much, much faster on 10 across the board, for hundreds of guilds and thousands of raiders.

      So you may have spoken to one person who thought it was harder on 10, but frankly they were incorrect. The data speaks for itself, it was done so many faster and by so many more people on 10, and that was not true of almost every other fight.

    • Theck says:

      Regarding Will 10-man: While a 10-man has no way of CC-ing the adds, they also *don’t need to,* which vastly simplifies the fight. We did 10-man H-Will on an off-night one week and made the same mistake initially. When we realized how quickly the things died, we gave up and just nuked them down every time they spawned. Ended up being pretty trivial that way.

      • Kihra says:

        Yeah, don’t forget that the CC on Heroic 25-man actually was quite challenging to pull off. It wasn’t just about getting the CC off, but also about reducing the time they spent re-fixating, since this caused huge dance lag. Just watch Temerity’s kill video of this fight from my perspective and see how crazy the dance got because of this problem.

        Basically people who think CC somehow made the fight easier don’t understand just what a giant PITA it was to deal with. I actually wish we’d just killed it straight up instead of doing the CC strat. I think we’d have actually killed it more quickly without using so much CC.

  12. Winkle says:

    I think 10m H-Will was easier IF you had the appropriate classes, mainly a DK with AOE grip, but a hunter or a rogue for soaking sparks was also nice.

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